Learning to balance

I recently read an article that said many executives are seeking ways to develop a balance between their personal and professional lives. With the holidays approaching, this may be the best time to work toward that goal.

Why is balance important? In addition to the old adage “All work and no play … ,” dividing our time more equally between work and family has proven to lessen stress and improve our health. Plus it’s a lot more fun, and can have a big impact on the lives of those we care about.

At my father’s funeral, not one person approached me to say, “He was a hell of a businessman” or “He was a great banker,” even though he was both. But a lot of people said he was a good friend, a good neighbor and a good listener.

It wasn’t easy for Dad to find his balance. His schedule was as hectic as that of today’s busy manager or executive — board meetings, chamber of commerce and civic events, and leadership roles in clubs and organizations kept him away from home several evenings a week, and I missed him.

But over the years, he learned to pick his commitments to match his priorities, and gradually, his time away from home decreased and he became more relaxed.

As with any other skill, balancing your personal and professional lives takes practice. Good intentions don’t cut it. Start by listing your priorities. Then list the number of hours you spend attending professional meetings and functions, and the hours you spend attending to personal ones.

If the number of hours spent at business functions far outweighs the personal, you have some work to do. Once you’ve realigned your time and have a more balanced life, you’ll find you have more time to share a joke with a friend, listen to his problems or console your child.

It is those investments that bring the richest returns. After all, the people you’ll remember fondly aren’t famous scientists, politicians or businesspeople. They are those who cared enough to take the time to listen and advise you.

Now it’s your turn to carry on that tradition, and it starts with finding that balance.


In the November issue Hall of Fame report, we incorrectly stated that Jim Crane led Crane Group Inc. since 1967 and that he is currently a trustee of the Columbus Museum of Art and Children’s Hospital.

Crane and his brother, Bob, both led the company, and Crane has served as a trustee of those two organizations, but is not currently serving in that capacity.

SBN apologizes for these errors.